Obama budget cuts target travel, coffee mugs

U.S. President Barack Obama will ask government agencies on Wednesday to find cost savings by cutting back in areas ranging from travel and vehicles to purchases of promotional coffee mugs and gadgets.

The White House order on cost-cutting is the latest in a series of initiatives Obama is carrying out that do not require congressional approval. By taking the executive actions, he is trying to put pressure on opposition Republicans to work with him on his $447 billion jobs package and other legislative proposals.

The order would urge agencies to use teleconferences and videoconferences to cut down on travel and to reduce on printing costs by making information available electronically.

Agencies would be encouraged to take steps to ensure they are not paying for laptops, cellphones, smart phones and other devices when they are not needed or might go unused.

The White House said the order calls for a shrinking of the federal vehicle fleet and a reduction in “swag” — promotional clothing, coffee mugs and gadgets that agencies sometimes buy.

A White House official said the budgets for these items would be reduced by 20 percent and estimated the initiative could save the government billions of dollars annually.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – (Reporting by Caren Bohan; editing by Mohammad Zargham)


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